The Decision 2Posted: March 11, 2012
Outside the famed Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut, a beat-up 1995 Chevy S10 maneuvers into a parking spot. Peyton Manning emerges from the vehicle; instantly, a horde of volatile paparazzi rush to capture his every move. Adorned in a denim-on-denim ensemble, the free agent quarterback is minutes away from announcing where he will sign for the 2012 season. Inside sits the stoic Jim Gray, ready to pepper Manning with questions ranging from “somewhat ridiculous” to “obscenely ridiculous”. Frequenters of the Club—oddly situated in one of America’s wealthiest cities—make up the sparse crowd anticipating the impending revelation. The lights dim and a below-average mariachi band begins to play. It is showtime.
UNSEEN VOICE: Welcome to an ESPN special presentation, The Decision 2, brought to you by Asian Chao. Put your hands together for Stuart Scott, who will be starting the night off with “Poetry Jam”.
STUART SCOTT: The Horseshoe’s blue, and feeling bluer too
How does a city move on from a star?
By drowning their sorrows at bars and crashing their cars?
Because usually the one to come next plays like feces—
For example, take Elway’s replacement Brian Griese
In fairness, the Colts should have more Luck
Yet the fans must be saying [expletive]
As they see their Manning become the market’s hottest prospect
Since Dakota Fanning
More importantly, tonight: Where will he play?
What will he Ir-SAY?
JIM GRAY (wiping away tears): Thank you Stuart, as always, for the artful lyricism.
PEYTON MANNING (also choked up): That was emotional.
JIM GRAY: Well everybody is on pins and needles across the country, particularly those in the running for Peyton’s services, so let’s begin.
PEYTON MANNING: Do you use that line when you auction off sex slaves, Jim?
(More awkward silence.)
JIM GRAY: So what’s new, Peyton? How was your winter?
PEYTON MANNING: It went swell, apart from my brother surpassing me in Super Bowl wins. But I did find some nice-looking Tennessee Volunteers crocs on eBay!
JIM GRAY (ears perking): Oh, those are nice. I have a Grambling State pair myself. Can you confirm to our viewers which teams you are considering?
PEYTON MANNING: The Cardinals, Jets, Broncos, and Dolphins made the final cut.
JIM GRAY: How did your visit with the Jets go? It sure would be compelling if you were vying for back-page headlines with Eli.
PEYTON MANNING: It was pretty unpleasant. Coach Ryan kept complimenting my feet and Sanchez wanted to know how old my daughter was.
JIM GRAY: My condolences. Was Denver any better?
PEYTON MANNING: Slightly.
JIM GRAY: Tim Tebow would be a tough act to follow.
PEYTON MANNING: Damn straight he would. That’s why I didn’t acknowledge him when I was meeting with the Broncos. Thrice I had to deny his existence. But I was assured that I’d be the starting quarterback in Denver—I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.
JIM GRAY: What about Arizona?
PEYTON MANNING: They wooed me Bachelor-style. With roses and everything. It was pretty impressive, actually. Larry Fitzgerald and I rendezvoused to their facility’s fantasy suite and boy…Let’s just Austin Collie’s measurables don’t quite stack up.
JIM GRAY: And Miami?
PEYTON MANNING: Well of course I wanted to see if the 7th Floor Crew was for real. My boys Reggie Wayne, Marvelous, and Greg Olsen let me taste that life for one night, and the Coral Gables co-eds showed love.
JIM GRAY: There are kids watching this.
PEYTON MANNING (with an aw-shucks grin): Sorry.
JIM GRAY: Well, the answer to the question everyone wants to know: Peyton, what’s your decision?
PEYTON MANNING: Um, this fall—man, this is tough—this fall I’m gonna take my injured neck to South Beach and join the Miami Dolphins.
JIM GRAY: The Miami Dolphins. How did you come to this conclusion?
PEYTON MANNING: I had a dream last night—
JIM GRAY (cutting him off): Spare me the dream BS. Why did you really sign with Miami?
PEYTON MANNING: Well, Kelly Ripa is pretty hot, and since Regis Philbin is the new Head Coach of the Dolphins I figured he could hook the two of us up.
JIM GRAY: I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but Joe Philbin is their Head Coach. Not Regis.
PEYTON MANNING: [Expletive]! At least the Williams sisters are part-owners. I’ve always had a thing for them.